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Vietnam: 4 Cities

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Vietnam’s fascinating history and culture has unfolded along its uniquely long and thin geography. In this course Vietnam expert Walter Mason (author of Destination Saigon) takes us from the border of China right down to the Mekong Delta, and we explore Buddhist sects, royal intrigue, Marian visions and the historical clash of cultures through the lens of Vietnam’s four great cities: Hanoi, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho.


  • Hanoi – Confucius, colonialism and literature
  • Hue – Cham Kingdom, Tale of Kieu and royal dynasties
  • Ho Chi Minh City – Old Saigon, the Quiet American and war
  • Can Tho – Delta cultures, Khmer influences and Buddhist sects

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Have a greater knowledge of Vietnam’s rich history and culture.
  2. Comprehend the cultural differences at work at different parts of this geographically long country.
  3. Explain the richness and complexity of Vietnamese shamanism, Buddhism and other religious traditions.
  4. Explain and recognise the various historical buildings, temples and artefacts that make up Vietnam’s cultural inheritance.